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Re: [Talin@ACM.org: Suggestions for wording...?]

// Adding Richard to the Cc list

On Sun, Jun 18, 2000 at 12:06:24PM -0700, Brian Behlendorf wrote:
> > > I recieved a few suggestions which, unfortunately, seem to be based on
> > > misunderstandings of what I'm asking for.
> > > 
> > > The license that I want should have the following features:
> > > 
> > > 	1. Be compatible with the GPL.
> Then you must use a license with *fewer* restrictions than the GPL, and
> don't deny adding restrictions. For example, the BSD/MIT/Apache licenses,
> at least the newer versions without the advertising clauses.  Only those
> kinds of licenses are compatible with the GPL.


> > > 	2. Allow linking with other open-source licenses.
> Almost any license which satisfies #1 will satisfy #2.  Do you also have a
> requirement on what license the "larger work" will be under?  If that is
> "GPL", then certain open-source licenses will not be compatible, as they
> have their own requirements about larger works, such as the MPL.

It seems like what he's looking for is a clause which provides protection
somewhere between that of the GPL and LGPL.  Specifically, the LGPL's
license compatibility but with the GPL's assurance that the code will stay
free.  The GPL's arbitrary standard to maintain freeness is the GPL
itself.  What he needs is another standard.  OSI Certified licenses seem
to be a viable solution (oh gods, don't let Eric hear me say that..)

Or you could just as easily incorporate a variation on the  OSD/DFSG into
the license itself to ensure that you have full control over what the
definition of "free" within the scope of your license actually is.  This
is the best option most likely, though the most work.

As Richard has pointed out a few times in the past, it may be less trouble
to write your own license to avoid confusions.

> > > 	3. Should be as restrictive as the GPL when it comes to proprietary
> > > software, i.e. it only allows linking with proprietary software in
> > > certain special cases.
> Since you can't simultaneously have fewer restrictions than the GPL, and
> be as restrictive, this may be where the inconsistancy lies.

Only in your understanding of what he wants.  =)

> > > Here is the language I came up with:
> > > ----
> > > A special exception to the GPL listed below is that this
> > > program may be linked with any libraries or components that are
> > > distributed under a license that meets the Open Source Definition
> > > (http://www.opensource.org/osd.html), and that such components
> > > shall be considered seperate works, not covered under the terms
> > > of this license.
> > > ----
> > > However, I'm not sure that this language is legally sound. Please help
> > > me debug it.
> That's fine, however this software will then not be compatible with other
> pure-GPL software, which would prevent this kind of special-case.  I.e.
> "GPL, except ____" is an oxymoron as a license, though authors of GPL
> software may choose not to enforce it in certain circumstances (e.g.,
> Linus and binary-only kernel drivers).
> At least this is my understanding.

How's this?

	This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or
	modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License
	as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2
	of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

	This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
	but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of

	See the GNU General Public License for more details.

	In addition to the permissions granted above, at your option, you
	may consider any software whose License has been OSI Certified by
	the Open Source Initiative (http://www.opensource.org/) to be
	exempt from the requirements for distributing compiled versions of
	the Program under Section 3 of the GNU General Public License.

	You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
	along with this program; if not, write to:

		Free Software Foundation, Inc.
		59 Temple Place - Suite 330
		Boston, MA  02111-1307, USA

That should cover it I think.  Still, you're leaving the judgement call as
to whether or not software is free enough in the hands of OSI who may or
may not make decisions you agree with.  While they thankfully rejected
Sun's blatant subversion of the free software community with their
"Community License", they did accept Apple's termination-anytime-we-want
clause.  It's your call to make, but it is my (non-legal) opinion the
above should be good enough if it is indeed what you want.

Given the number of people who seem to want the same and try to cook up
their own license as a result (Debian is very familiar with these - most
of them whose authors can no longer be located are unfortunately relegated
to non-free status even though it's almost certainly not the intent of
their authors), it might almost make sense for someone to sit down and
write the kind of license you and others are looking for and hope to hell
people will use it and at least slow the license proliferation problem
down a bit.  Ironic to suggest a new license as a way to help curb license
proliferation, but there you have it.  =)

Joseph Carter <knghtbrd@debian.org>               GnuPG key 1024D/DCF9DAB3
Debian GNU/Linux (http://www.debian.org/)         20F6 2261 F185 7A3E 79FC
The QuakeForge Project (http://quakeforge.net/)   44F9 8FF7 D7A3 DCF9 DAB3

Something must be Done
This is Something
Therefore, This must be Done
        -- The Thatcherite Syllogism

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